is a major reason why the
are closing the season with a flourish. They're going to need more than Hanson's help to get into the playoffs.
The rookie pitched seven innings Saturday for his 11th win,
drove in three runs and the Braves beat the
11-5 on Saturday for their fifth consecutive victory.
Atlanta pulled within 2 1/2 games of Colorado for the NL wild card when the Rockies lost 6-3 to St. Louis, which clinched
the NL Central title. The Braves (84-70) have won 13 of 15 and are 50-30 since June 27, improving to a season-best 14 games
Hanson (11-4) allowed four hits and four runs - three of them on
's pinch-hit homer. The right-hander, who made his major league debut on June 7, struck out seven and walked one.
''Since I've been up here, we've been playing really well,'' Hanson said. ''Hopefully, we keep winning games and get lucky.''
Atlanta was six games under .500 before going on its impressive run. Besides Hanson's promotion, the Braves traded for
in late May and
in late July.
''It's getting to be a lot more fun,'' manager
said. ''I think we're pretty good right now.''
It could be difficult for Atlanta to catch the Rockies, but the Braves have four more games against the woeful Nationals,
who lost for the 102nd time, matching their total from last year with eight games remaining.
said the 6-foot-6, 23-year-old Hanson has played a key role in launching the team into contention.
''What he brings to the team is a guy who has No. 1-type stuff,'' he said.
The Braves took advantage of Washington's shoddy defense to jump out to a 5-0 lead.
had a two-out, two-run single off
(3-10) in the first and third baseman
's throwing error on
's slow roller led to two more runs.
Orr got the start in place of
, who pinch hit in the eighth inning and flied out.
committed the first of his two errors in the second, muffing
' fly ball for a two-base miscue that allowed
to score. Dukes also committed an error in the ninth.
Washington has allowed five unearned runs on four errors in the last two games.
''If it could go wrong, it went wrong,'' Nationals manager Jim Riggleman said. ''Freakish things are happening.''
Atlanta broke it open with five runs in the ninth. McCann hit a two-run homer, Jones and Escobar had RBI doubles and LaRoche
singled in a run.
''You can't really take any hitters off in our lineup,'' Jones said. ''It was just a matter of time before we put it all together
and started rattling off wins.''
Mock, who lost his fifth consecutive decision, allowed six runs, four earned, and seven hits in five innings.
had a two-out RBI single in the third, Morse connected in the fifth and
added a sacrifice fly in the ninth for Washington.
NOTES: Riggleman said Zimmerman is a little banged up. ''He's been playing through some nagging stuff,'' Riggleman said. ''He's
sore in a couple of different areas.'' Zimmerman expects to play Sunday. ''I think everyone is banged up right now,'' he said.
... Nationals SS
may not play in the field again this season. He's suffering from a sore shoulder, which has limited him to pinch hitting.
... Washington LHP
, whose bruised left thumb has hampered him, may not pitch again this season. ''I doubt if we'll use him. That bone contusion
has not gotten better,'' Riggleman said. ... Atlanta is 45-35 on the road and 39-35 at Turner Field.